Prototyping is key to any design process. How quickly you’re able to create prototypes can make all of the difference when it comes to solving problems proactively and keeping your project on schedule. While a design file or drawings are an important element in the design process, physically holding your concept communicates more than a design file ever can.
If your product is being designed to fit in a particular place or as a part of a larger whole, a prototype is ideal for making sure your design fits where it needs to. A low-cost quickly produced prototype can help you understand what adjustments you’ll need to make before you invest in final production. Normally it’s a minor detail, like an overhanging element or an angle that is slightly off, that can cause a product to be a poor fit. Learning of those issues before you start spending on production will save you money down the road.
Rapid Prototyping with a 3D Printer
3D printing is making waves with rapid prototyping. A 3D printer opens up options beyond traditional manufacturing techniques by allowing more effective testing and understanding of smaller parts, preventing small problems from causing large projects to be delayed. Products are produced directly from your computer file, meaning the final product will be printed exactly how you designed it. Any issues that exist in the design will be reflected in the 3D printed product, eliminating guesswork and simplifying the process of correcting your prototype.
Rapid iterations can be done more easily with 3D printing. As soon as you find an issue in one prototype, you can modify your design and send it to a 3D printer. The newly redesigned prototype will be printed in a few hours. You could even create several modified prototypes and have them printed in the same time frame so you can test them out to decide which is a better option.
What Materials Should Be Used?
3D printing can be done with a variety of materials, some of which are quite inexpensive. You can create a prototype to test fit-out of plastic, for instance, so you know the fit before you invest in more expensive metal production. There aren’t any setup costs, unlike machining, molding, or other forms of production. A 3D printer only needs material, a design file, and enough space to print the desired dimensions to produce your model.
If you are working on a project that could benefit from rapid prototyping and 3D printing, Jawstec is here to help. We offer the latest and greatest in 3D printing technology as well as expert design advice. Our expert staff have a passion for 3D printing and the changes it can make to just about every industry. Contact us today for your 3D print quote so we can start helping you build prototypes that can solve problems before they start.